This Day in History - January 9
Port Royal, Jamaica, is devastated by fire on this day, 1703. (Photo: Joseph Wellington)

TODAY'S HIGHLIGHT

2001: Some British schools begin handing out the morning-after pill to students, setting off a debate over parental rights as the Government tries to curb an alarming rate of teenage pregnancy.

OTHER EVENTS

1349: A total of 700 Jews of Basel, Switzerland, are burned alive in their houses.

1493: Manatees are sighted by Christopher Columbus for the first time.

1570: Tsar Ivan the Terrible kills 1,000-2,000 residents of Novgorod.

1703: Port Royal in Jamaica is devastated by a fire.

On this day, 1839, Louis-Jacques-Mande Daguerre of France proclaims his invention of the daguerreotype at the French Academy of Science — the first commercially successful form of photography.

1768: Philip Astley stages the world's first modern circus in London.

1792: Russia ends its war with Turkey by the Treaty of Jassy.

1799: British Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger introduces income tax to raise funds for the war against Napoleon.

1811: The first Women's Golf Tournament is held.

1839: Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre of France proclaims his invention of the daguerreotype at the French Academy of Science — the first commercially successful form of photography.

1855: The clipper Guiding Star disappears in the Atlantic and 480 die.

1861: A Union merchant ship, the Star of the West, is fired upon by Confederates as it tries to deliver supplies to Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina — the first battle of the American Civil War.

1868: The last convict ship, the Hougoumont, arrives in Fremantle, ending 80 years of penal transportation to Australia.

1941: A total of 6,000 Jews are murdered in a pogrom in Bucharest, Romania.

1951: The United Nations' headquarters opens in New York.

1960: Construction begins on the Aswan High Dam in Egypt which generates enormous amounts of electric power and allows for the control of the annual Nile flood upon its completion in 1970.

1962: The Soviet Union and Cuba sign a trade pact.

1964: Anti-US rioting breaks out in the Panama Canal Zone, resulting in the deaths of 21 Panamanians and three US soldiers.

1965: An estimated 500 people suspected of being rebels are executed by Congo Government forces in Stanleyville during the six weeks after the city was retaken.

1970: France agrees to sell Mirage military jets to the revolutionary regime in Libya.

1973: The white-ruled country of Rhodesia closes its borders with Zambia to try to cut off black liberation forces.

1977: Palestinian nationalist Abou Daoud, suspected of having planned the attacks on Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, is arrested in Paris by French intelligence agents.

1987: The White House releases a memorandum prepared for US President Ronald Reagan in January 1986 that shows a definite link between US arms sales to Iran and the release of American hostages in Lebanon.

1991: US defence officials adopt a set of press rules for the impending war in the Persian Gulf that is criticised as bordering on censorship.

1993: In a symbolic victory, government troops capture the headquarters of UNITA political party rebel leader Jonas Savimbi in central Angola; Savimbi, however, escapes.

1994: Gunmen attack a delegation including African National Congress Chairman Cyril Ramaphosa in a township in South Africa, killing a photographer.

1995: Russian forces close in on the Chechen presidential palace in Grozny.

1996: Chechen rebels demanding an end to the war in their breakaway republic seize a hospital and at least 2,000 hostages in Kizlyar, Dagestan, and battle Russian troops in the town's streets; at least 40 people die.

1997: Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak inaugurates a pumping station designed to send Nile river waters west from Nasser Lake to create a second river valley for Egypt's growing population.

1998: Eight inmates die when a riot erupts in a prison in south-eastern Brazil.

In the middle of the night men and women walk to election stations in, 2011, to create a new nation, Southern Sudan, following a two-decade war with the north which left two million people dead.

1999: In the first major violation of a three-month ceasefire, Yugoslav troops attack ethnic Albanian positions in Kosovo in an attempt to free captured soldiers.

2000: An investigation into leaks in Switzerland's vaunted bank secrecy turns up 13 people in eight countries who illegally received data on other people's Swiss bank accounts.

2002: At the 29th American Music Awards Michael Jackson is hailed as the Artist of the Century.

2003: Weapons inspectors Hans Blix and Mohamed ElBaradei tell the UN Security Council they had not uncovered any "smoking gun" evidence proving that Iraq possessed or sought to develop chemical, biological or nuclear weapons.

2004: US National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice admits that the United States has no credible evidence that Iraq moved weapons of mass destruction into Syria early in 2003 before the US-led war that drove Saddam Hussein from power.

2005: Mahmoud Abbas is elected Palestinian Authority president by a wide margin, winning a decisive mandate to renew peace talks with Israel, rein in militants, to try ending more than four years of Mideast bloodshed.

2006: An Iranian military flight carrying a commander of the country's elite Revolutionary Guards and at least 10 others crashes while trying to make an emergency landing, killing all aboard.

2007: Apple Inc CEO Steve Jobs announces the iPhone. A cargo plane carrying Turkish construction workers crashes while landing at an airstrip north of Baghdad, killing 34 people; the Islamic Army in Iraq, a nationalist anti-occupation insurgent group, claims responsibility.

2008: Kosovo's Parliament elects former rebel leader Hashim Thaci as prime minister in a vote foreshadowing a declaration of independence from Serbia.

2009: A US federal appeals court reinstates a human rights lawsuit against Mohamed Ali Samantar of Fairfax, Virginia — a former prime minister of Somalia accused of overseeing killings and other atrocities.

On this day, 2007, Apple Inc CEO Steve Jobs introduces the iPhone.

2010: Gunmen spray bullets at Togo's national team, killing three people and forcing its withdrawal from the African Cup of Nations soccer tournament, an event that host Angola had hoped to use to show it was recovering from decades of war.

2011: Men and women walk to election stations in the middle of the night to create a new nation, Southern Sudan, after a two-decade civil war with the north which left two million people dead.

2012: Panama promises economic aid for protesters who participated in the 1964 riots that many believe eventually spurred the US to hand over control of the Panama Canal in 1999.

2013: India summons Pakistan's top diplomat in New Delhi to formally complain about an attack on an Indian army patrol in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir that killed two soldiers and left their bodies mutilated.

2014: A French comic who is considered anti-Semitic is banned from performing just hours after a court said he could go ahead with his show.

TODAY'S BIRTHDAYS

Pope Gregory XV (Allesandro Ludovisi) (1554-1623); Thomas Warton, English poet laureate (1728-1790); Karel Capek, Czechoslovak author (1890-1938); Simone de Beauvoir, French writer and feminist who gave a literary transcription to the themes of existentialism (1908-1986); Richard M Nixon, US president (1913-1994); Sekou Toure, first president of Guinea (1922-1984); Jimmy Page, English guitarist w/ rock group Led Zeppelin (1944- ); Catherine Middleton, duchess of Cambridge (1982- )

— AP/ Jamaica Observer

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